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There are generally two types of trips that we need to make. Those with fixed dates because we’re going for a special occasion or event or because it’s the only window we have for travel. And those that offer a little more flexibility, ones where you can choose your departure and arrival dates more based on availability and prices of flights, accommodation and even car hire.

But, even though you have more relative freedom, there is another kind of calendar that the canny traveller might like to check out before going ahead and booking everything.

What is the economic calendar?

The economic calendar shows, not surprisingly, the dates on which critical economic announcements are due to be made. It’s important because, in many cases, it can have a knock-on effect on the cost of your holiday or trip in a number of ways. The best of these guides that you’ll find online will cover the whole world. So, if you take a look at an economic calendar this week, it will show upcoming events everywhere, from Australia to Zimbabwe.

But what kind of announcements are we talking about, and what could the effects be?

Changing rates of exchange

"Australia Dollar" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Daniel Hughes

Various announcements can affect the exchange rate between your national currency and the country that you’re visiting. These include news being released about the strength, or otherwise, of the underlying economy, for example, the current rate of inflation.

What’s more, a little prior research before the figures are released could well pay dividends. That’s because if you know that the news is not going to be great and a fall in the value of the currency is on the cards, it’s best to wait before you head to get your currency. Or, if the figures are set to be really bad, you might want to scrub your plans altogether.

House purchase and rental prices

Changes in exchange rates will also affect hotel costs. But if you’re planning an extended stay, then being aware of when news of house or rental price rises is due to be released could also be important. This is because it’s the kind of news that can affect the economy as a whole. So it will give you an idea about whether an investment in property in the country or destination seems to be a good idea or whether you will soon find rental costs on the rise.

Employment figures count too

The employment figures can also tell you a great deal about the country that you’re planning to visit. If you’re hoping to pick up some temporary employment, it can be a good indicator of how easy it will be to find a position. It can even tell you whether the hotel you’re staying in will be fully- or short-staffed.

So give some serious thought to checking out an economic calendar before you head off next – it could save you money and quite a bit of hassle as well.